-Dr Pravin Togadia-
During one of the informal visit to a friend’s place, his young son along with his friend approached me, said, ‘hello’ and looked at each other. I could see they wanted to say something and yes, they did. Both worked in one of the top most private bank in retail banking dept. They were under tremendous stress. I wonder why. Good job, good salary, good supportive family. Why stress? My friend’s son said, “Uncle, it’s about target. Our bank has given us the target to get some specific numbers of current accounts, corporate accounts and individual accounts. March end it approaching fast and personally we both feel that the target itself it unreasonable. But we cannot say so. In departmental meetings bosses look at us as if we were some kind of morons. But there is so much competition and so much unnecessary paper work. Customers hate it. We feel humiliated.”
There is a thin line between goal ambition and target! One gives oneself a goal to achieve and goes on to accomplish it. There are hard work and stress here too. Yet there is some kind of satisfaction of marching towards the dream. Individuals have their own dreams which become goals some times, organisations have their goals based on ideologies and socially, even countries have their goals based on cultural ethos and social aspirations. But target is much different from all these. Goals give stress but it is worth it; targets are forced on to the others – by individuals/organisations/departments, etc.
March end and many Government departments give ‘target’ to employees of recoveries. From junior officers to the senior bosses, all are under stress and then comes corruption. Not all do it and then they are transferred to the remote places, their increment is stopped and so on.
These days not only corporate and Government offices, but even kids are under stress to achieve some target. Many a times parents are not responsible; sometimes they are. Peer pressure, urge for teacher’s approval and such things drive kids to set higher targets for themselves. They are not goals. Getting A+ grade cannot be a healthy goal; learning the subject in depth should be a goal. Grade is a target. Kids are under stress and so are their parents. It is easy to blame the systems, but systems are for human beings; letting the systems set targets for lives is a sign of bad things to come.
Recently I met a political party worker. He was euphoric and confident of ‘Target 272’. All in the fold and now all India know what it means. Good to see his confidence. He was not stressed, perhaps he was enjoying what he was doing. I asked him, “Happy?” He looked dazed. He asked, “Happy? Yes, yes. I must mobilize 5,000 votes.” How inspired he was! I asked him, “and how are you planning to do it?” He again looked dazed, said, “It is a target given to me. Something will happen.” Then he started his auto-start bike and speeded somewhere much to the stress of his old father. His father said, “I wonder if he knows those many people.” I told him to relax and he informed me that his son spent all night on the Face Book, What’s App to share photos and messages to garner 5,000 target. Before I reach other town from this family’s house, I saw same age youths sitting on their bikes with bikes parked under a huge tree. Flags on their bikes were not of the Target 272 group but the opposite group. I halted to ask them as to why they had been wasting their time. About 3-4 of them came to me and started explaining as to how they were given target of over 200 and how they were confident of achieving it. “I asked them how are you planning to achieve it in such an antagonised situation?” They looked dazed. I am sure they did not have any inkling as to how to go about their target, not even half inspired compared to the 272 group.
These are temporary targets. There is still some ‘Zing’ in getting to those. People in general – those who are called aam aadmi (Not the party name; real aam aadmi.) this time seem to have set their own goals (NOT targets) in this election. They are not under stress. Aam aadmi’s aspirations are socio-economic and socio-cultural goals; NOT targets. Aam aadmi is stressed but for other reasons; not for these perfect goals. This time aam aadmi will vote decisively selecting those who kept all their promises. Someone told me that aam aadmi is so disillusioned about everyone, he / she would press NOTA (None Of The Above) button this time with utmost distrust in all. I doubt. Increased percentages of voting in recent elections show a specific trend, they will vote decisively this time. But, not forced under target.
(The writer can be contracted at email: [email protected])